Canberra is a city renowned for its political landmarks and laid-back approach to Australian culture. However, home to an array of exciting, stylish bars, it has always held a mischievous love for cult entertainment and a good party. After taking over the former, very popular Academy club, Fiction has re-shaped the city’s nightlife and newly thriving club culture.

The venue is held in the unique space that was once home to a traditional cinema, and with entertainment already engrained in the walls, Fiction now holds some of the most vibrant club nights the city has to offer. Not only is the venue a place to let your hair down after a gruelling nine-to-five week, it’s also a cultural hub, providing a creative space for emerging talent in the art field to thrive.

Holding weekly nights such as ‘Techno Thursdays’, Fiction offers a full party schedule, proving popular with those looking to enjoy a mid-week dance in the comfort of their own city. Without the need to travel to Australia’s larger metropolises like Sydney and Melbourne, Fiction is pioneering a new era of popular clubbing, welcoming live art, theatre and innovative performances, too. Fiction has firmly brought the charismatic space back to life and is continuing to paint smiles on the faces of Canberra’s many night owls.

Elite Event Technology (EET) took on this project and with such a busy schedule that sees the venue being used for theatre shows, art installations and live gigs, Fiction needed to be kitted out with some of the best technology at hand. The brief for the lighting, according to Darren Russell, Managing Director of EET was: “Big, bold, kick ass and to look totally different to what Academy did in the space.”

So, ChamSys and ACME were brought in to help give the club that courageous illumination. Darren contacted ULA Group to supply all the lighting equipment.

“There is a rear truss on stage with the LED screen suspended from it, this truss line also has U drop frames either side of the screen for lighting. There is also a square truss grid out in the room around the main dancefloor area and some lighting bars installed under the mezzanine floor of the floor above,” explained Darren.

When asked about the reason behind using ChamSys and ACME Darren said: “We have used ChamSys control in several club installations, we find it works very well for this, it is user friendly and the media server integration and pixel mapping capabilities work very well in this type of environment. ACME have good reliability, a good feature set and are great value for money with great warranty.”

Working in conjunction with the lighting fixtures, the club also houses complex visuals that work well with the diverse range of genres and innovative movements that pass through, dancing in front of its shapeshifting logo. Guided along by the kaleidoscopic LED displays provided by VuePix infiLED, the experience for attendees is heightened, again adding to the uniqueness of the club that is proving to be at the centre of its success.

“There is a 16:9 screen flown above and behind the DJ on stage and then a DJ fasia screen the same width as the flown screen in front of the DJ position. We use VuePix infiLED LED products exclusively in our rental stock and have done for many years now, we know they’re reliable so that’s our reason for always going back,” furthered Darren.

In a space like Fiction, the sound system is, of course, equally important. EET wanted to provide a powerful system that could accommodate all kinds of live acts if required in the future. It needed to be able to switch between the chest rattling bass lines of new techno to the sombre tones of an independent art exhibition with ease. Therefore, Turbosound’s TFA-600H loudspeakers were used along with Turbosound TSW-218 subwoofers to achieve this.

“As the entire system is a permanent rental, we decided to try and use existing rental stock for the audio, while still providing the brief as required by the client,” explained Darren. “There are two main L-R line array hangs of six elements each, with a subwoofer array featuring six cabinets across the front of the entire stage. There is then a delay using the QSC AD-S10T surface mount loudspeakers.
Martin Audio CDD10’s and CSX212B-F subwoofers are used for the upper bar level on the mezzanine floor. The design works well as the system has an incredible amount of headroom and sheer horsepower for the main dancefloor area, while still maintaining good control in the bar area, so that the staff can hear drinks orders and converse with the patrons.

“We also used Lab.gruppen PLM Series amplifiers, these power the Turbosound systems, provide reliability and have onboard Lake loudspeaker processing,” continued Darren. Yamaha MTX Series DSPs were also used on this project for audio processing and routing, a regular installation product of choice for the team at EET on this style of project.

Punters and performers both benefit from such a powerful sound system, this was portrayed in the clubs most recent hosting of Australian DJ, ‘Made in Paris’, who packed out the venue and transformed the space into an electronic pop paradise driving in and out of textured techno and deep moods.

Fiction is an impressive refit of a building that already had some exciting stories to tell. The landscape of the venue had changed quite significantly, so this was a large part of the design process along with how the venue was operating and what needed to be newly incorporated. This meant that in turn, some difficulties arose during the installation. “We had limited time, the building project originally allowed three weeks for our installation, this ended up becoming four days, this meant we had to throw an army of people at it and everyone worked some very long days,” concluded Darren.

The club has already equipped itself with the best technology to host its ongoing programme of quirky activities that are bringing a new life to Canberra’s club scene. Fiction has incorporated innovative lighting, visuals and a fresh sound system to create a matchless environment for universal ravers of all kinds. It has been driven by a passion for creative innovation, from the DJs who perform to the packed-out Monday to Sunday crowds, to the lighting designers involved in the creation of the spectacular interior re-fit, Fiction club has, so far, been a soaring success.